SUGGESTIONS FOR INSTALLING IPE DECKING
Ipe is a very dense, very hard wood....which is one of the reasons it last so long. Use of some specialized or higher grade tools may be necessary for good results. This page will give you an overview of handling and building suggestions that will help you achieve excellent results when building your Ipe deck.
Ipe decking is available in either partially air dried or kiln dried lumber. Air dried lumber is intended for outdoor use for decks, benches, docks, play yards, or other outdoor furniture. Kiln dried lumber is best suited for indoor uses.
Ipe decking should be allowed to sit for a few days prior to installation in order to get acclimated to your local temperature and humidity levels. The deck design should allow for ground side ventilation to insure stability of the decking due to proper air circulation.
Cutting & Drilling
Due to the very hard nature of Ipe, premium carbide tipped saw blades are recommended for cutting. Brad point drill bits or fostner bits provide cleaner holes than standard HSS twist bits.
Our Ipe decking is shipped with the endgrain sealed with a clear wax to prevent any end checking. Fresh cuts should be sealed within 24hrs with endgrain sealant. We sell endgrain sealant by the quart, typically enough for a 500 sq. ft of decking. The endgrain sealant is simply applied with a paintbrush and dries clear.
There are three typical methods of fastening Ipe decking to other structural members:
- Ipe Clip ® Fastener Method: The Ipe Clip® fastener system uses high strength plastic fastening biscuits that insert into slots cut into the edge of the deck board which then rests on top of a joist. A stainless steel screw (supplied with each clip) is then screwed down into the joist. We recommend the Ipe Clip® fastener system as many other hidden fastener systems install from the bottom side of the deck, requiring screwing into the bottom of the deck board. With the Ipe Clip® fastener system no screws or holes show from the surface. The Ipe Clip® fasteners are fiberglass reinforced so that they are one of the strongest ways to fasten Ipe Decking.
- Face Screw / Plug Method: Countersink 3/8" holes into face of deck boards. Predrill 1/8" pilot holes completely through the deck boards. Screw the deck boards down with stainless screws. 3/8" Ipe plugs are then glued into the holes with waterproof glue (i.e. Gorilla brand glue, Epoxy, etc.) Plugs are then knocked off with a chisel and sanded smooth.
- Finish Screw Method: Stainless steel #8 trim head screws are screwed into the face of the decking. Recommended two per joist. The trim head screw is very small and only slightly noticeable. Our Torx drive screws resist striping much more than the standard square drive.
We recommend allowing 1/16" gaps between deck boards for water drainage and wood expansion / contraction. This also allows for proper air circulation. Average shrinkage is approximately 1/16" on 4" wide boards and 1/8" on 6" wide boards.
Because of Ipe's natural density and its alkaline characteristics, many oil and water based finishes will not dry properly when applied. We recommend that you test any product on several sample boards to determine compatibility. The finish we sell and recommend is Messmers UV Plus finish. Other possible finishes include Sitkens Deck Finish, CWF Flood Finish, and Penafin. Applying a finish approximately every two years (depending upon your local climate) will keep the beautiful dark brown color. If you decide to let your deck weather it will turn a silvery gray such as teak does. We recommend that you apply a coat of finish initially after deck installation, regardless of the final color desired. This will ensure that the Ipe retains its oils and stability.
If the need arises to glue your Ipe, waterproof glues, such as Gorilla brand polyurethane can be used with satisfactory results. Epoxy glues are also very suitable and can be dyed to black, brown or other colors to match your Ipe deck. Epoxy produces a very strong waterproof bond, particularly important for gluing posts.
Questions, comments, concerns with your installation?
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Free Shipping on Pregrooved, T&G and Siding Orders.
One of the strongest woods in the world
Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
Termite, Mold & Fungi resistant
High scratch & slip resistance
Can outlast composite material
Twice as strong as Oak
Time proven on many commercial projects
Better than teak
Great for docks, gazebos, benches, & tables
Worldwide shipping is available
Large selection of stock sizes
Up to 20 feet long
Up to 6x6 timbers
We custom mill to your dimensions
Comparably priced with composite decking choices
Available with hidden fastening system